nsucurrent.com February 22, 2018

Man who burned retina looking at 1960s eclipse warns about upcoming eclipse

19 August 2017, 06:48 | Shelley Chandler

Man visually impaired by eclipse warns others of viewing solar event

Gazing at 1963 eclipse for just 20 seconds partially blinded Oregon man

Special solar-viewing glasses, which are much darker than regular sunglasses, are needed to avoid serious eye damage in areas where there is less than 100 percent coverage of the sun.

Although it is said to be safe to view the eclipse with the naked eye only during the few second duration of its totality, perhaps Lou Tomososki's warning is an important reminder of the possible damage our eyes can sustain.

The way it works is, the rays can burn the retina of your eye and if you allow this to happen, this is what you can expect. He said the vision problems never got any worse - but they also never got any better.

You've heard it a gazillion times by now: You've got to protect your eyes during the eclipse.

The good new is, the certified eclipse glasses are fairly cheap. He closed his left eye and viewed it with his right eye for about 20 seconds.

"I am just so concerned that somebody isn't going to listen", he said.

Dr. Brandon Lujan, an assistant professor of Opthalmology at Oregon Health & Science University's Casey Eye Institute, noted the same damage could occur on any other day if you stare at the sun, not just in solar eclipses.

Indeed, Tomososki said his doctors can often tell that he once looked directly at the sun. But with the eclipse, even when the visible light is reduced by the moon, UV and infrared rays can still do damage to the retina. "Unfortunately there's not a treatment for it, so once that damage is done you have to wait and hopefully things improve and your body can heal some, but a lot of the damage can be permanent".

They recommend you not look in the direction of the eclipse, they also stress that you don't wear the protective glasses while driving as this can be risky as well.

People with the condition show a characteristic pattern of eye damage during eye exams. And 55 years later, "Nothing has changed", he told TODAY. But keep in mind that appropriate glasses alone won't save you. "The second the sun comes out, the eclipse glasses have to go back on".

As for Tomososki, he says he's excited about the upcoming eclipse on August 21, but this time, he's not going to be looking at the sky. "When you partially obscure the sun with the moon, it's not so bright, and it's not so painful to actually look at it", Hubbard said.

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